Reviving Your Nails: A Guide To Repairing Damage From Acrylics

Key Takeaways
  • After removing acrylic nails, it’s crucial to let your natural nails breathe and recover. Avoid applying any nail enhancements for at least a few weeks to promote nail health.
  • Rehydrate your nails by applying a nourishing cuticle oil and moisturizing hand cream regularly. Hydrated nails are less prone to splitting and peeling.
  • Trim your nails to a manageable length and shape them gently with a nail file. Avoid over-filing or using excessive force, as this can weaken your nails.
  • Consider using nail strengtheners or hardeners to fortify your nails during the recovery period. These products can help rebuild the strength of your natural nails.

Acrylic nails always look beautiful, with endless possibilities for the colors and designs that you can choose from, but you have to ask, are they really worth all the pain and damage?

Acrylics are the most durable nail enhancement, but they can cause severe damage to natural nails during the removal process. This is because they can only be removed by a nail drill which is like a rotating, heavy-duty nail file.

How to repair damaged nails after acrylics

It can take years for nail technicians and artists to master this removal technique and sometimes your natural nail may be nicked which causes your nails to thin and throb with sensitivity.

If your nails have been damaged by acrylic nails this guide will help you learn how to repair damaged nails as well as alternatives and basic care routines so that you can keep your hands and nails in tip-top shape.

Before You Get Started

  • Evaluate the extent of damage, from brittleness to thinning, to determine the most suitable recovery approach.
  • Allow your natural nails time to breathe and recover by abstaining from further acrylic applications.
  • Keep nails and cuticles moisturized with nourishing oils, promoting nail health and strength.
  • Consider supplements like biotin to support nail growth and strength from within.
  • Use strengthening base coats to shield and reinforce your nails, preventing further damage.

How To Repair Damaged Nails After Acrylics

Unfortunately, it is more likely than unlikely that your nails will be left damaged from acrylic nails.

Knowing how to repair your nails is an important way of dealing with this damage immediately to try to prevent it from getting worse and causing more issues and pain.

There are three main things that you need to focus on when repairing damaged nails, these are cuticles, nails, polish regularly, and skin. Find out how to repair these three things below.


Take care of your cuticles as they act as a seal to prevent bacteria from getting under your skin and under your nails.

If your cuticles are damaged this seal is broken and the risk of infection is greater.

To repair your cuticles, invest in good cuticle oil and apply liberally twice a day. The oil will rehydrate the cuticles, repairing the cracks and over time the cuticles will become an efficient seal again.


A nail strengthener is the best way to repair damaged nails. The formula works to fill in ridges as well as rehydrate the nail and nail bed.

Keep your nails short by filing them down to prevent breakages as well as any accidents where the nail may be tugged and lost.

Nail oil can also be used to rehydrate the nails, but it is not as effective as a nail strengthener when it comes to filling in nail ridges. 

Repair Damaged Nails After Acrylics: Nurturing Your Natural Nails

  • Assessment: Begin by evaluating the extent of damage to your natural nails, from brittleness to thinning.
  • Rest and Recovery: Give your nails time to recuperate by abstaining from further acrylic applications.
  • Hydration: Keep nails and cuticles well-moisturized with nourishing oils for nail health.
  • Supplements: Consider supplements like biotin to support natural nail growth and strength.
  • Protective Measures: Shield your nails with strengthening base coats to prevent further damage while they recover

Polish Regularly

Stick to a regular nail paint routine when trying to mend your nails after acrylic. This is better than using gel polish, which usually requires filing your nail down and reapplying it once the acrylic is gone. This allows you to monitor your nail growth.

It will only take a few times for your nails to grow strong and healthy. This is not a one-time event; it requires consistency.

Your damaged nails should be allowed to grow out entirely before being replaced with healthy ones.

During this time, avoid using ordinary nail polish, as previously stated, as well as frequently moisturizing your nails and avoiding acrylics. You can also seek the advice of a specialist.

Keep in Mind

  • Patience and Time: Understand that the recovery process takes time, and it’s essential to be patient as your natural nails regain strength and health.
  • Moisturization: Keep your nails and cuticles well-hydrated with nourishing oils and creams to promote their recovery.
  • Nail Care Routine: Establish a consistent nail care routine, which includes gentle filing, buffing, and strengthening treatments.
  • Supplements: Explore biotin or other supplements for nail growth and overall health.
  • Avoid Acrylics: Refrain from applying acrylics during the recovery phase to allow your natural nails to regain their integrity and appearance.

Eat the Proper Nutrients

Another excellent technique to repair your nails after acrylics is to eat healthily and incorporate items that promote healthy nail growth into your diet.

Biotin and foods high in omega-3 and vitamin E are among the nutrients that can help strengthen your nails.

Biotins are found in peanuts, avocados, eggs, almonds, walnuts, sweet potatoes, and other foods that promote nail growth.

Furthermore, an essential component of nail restoration is determining why the damage occurred and preventing it from happening again.

This is not to say that you will always suffer a loss after applying acrylics. Many factors are at work, but this may be avoided.

The natural nail state after acrylic nail removal varies by person and is usually a result of the nail technician who applied it and the type of substance used.

If precautions are not taken, thin nail beds caused by over-filling will be visible, as will dry, cracked nails.

This causes the nail to become weak and flaking. In the worst-case situation, there will be nail fungus and nail rings.


Use hand cream frequently as healthy skin will help to restore your nails. Apply hand cream up to twice a day and wash your hands using a milky soap that is soft on your skin.

This is particularly helpful when your nails are thin and fragile to avoid further pain that may be experienced from harsh chemicals.

If you want instant relief after leaving the salon you can:

  • Soak your nails in cool water to soothe the discomfort
  • Take pain relief, that you can buy over the counter at your local pharmacy, to ease the pain

Some people may experience pain for the first 24 hours after having acrylic nails done. If you suffer from sensitivity you can speak with your nail technician at your next appointment. Having acrylics that are too thick can often cause sensitivity as they are heavy on the natural nails.

The shape you choose also has a huge impact. If you have long stiletto nails they are most likely going to get caught while performing everyday tasks and also make it difficult to do certain things, such as buttoning your jeans.

Consider shorter, more squared styles to try to prevent painful accidents after the application process. 

Pro Tip

To repair damaged nails after acrylics, follow a nail care routine with nourishing oils, biotin supplements, and protective base coats. Avoid further acrylics for a while, allowing your natural nails to strengthen and grow, gradually restoring their health and beauty.

How To Achieve The Perfect Manicure At Home

While your nails are recovering it is best to leave them bare, however, if you have a special occasion coming up it can be beneficial to know how to achieve the perfect manicure at home.

Regular nail polish will not cause any damage to your nails during application and removal making it a fantastic choice for damaged nails repair.

Firstly you will need the right tools in order to successfully achieve the perfect at-home manicure. You will need:

  • Nail Scissors and Nail File
  • Cuticle Stick
  • Cuticle Oil
  • Acetone
  • Cotton Pad
  • Regular Nail Polish – base coat, top coat, and colored polish of your choice
  • Nail Fan 

Now that you have the correct tools you will need a flat surface to place your hands while you paint them and also somewhere to place your nail fan.

A nail fan is not an essential tool, but it is useful as it speeds up the drying process.

Sanitize your chosen area before laying out your tools.

Wash your hands before sitting down to begin to ensure there is no dirt or bacteria trapped under your nails.

How to repair damaged nails after acrylics


  1. Cut your nails so that they are all an even length and file to achieve your desired shape. A squoval shape or squared shape is best for damaged nails repair as it does not steer too far from your natural nail shape in most cases.
  2. Apply cuticle oil and massage into your cuticles before taking a cuticle stick and gently pushing the cuticles back. 
  3. Put some acetone on a cotton pad and sweep across the nails to get rid of any access oil that may prevent the nail varnish from setting.
  4. Apply a thin layer of base coat to your nails and place your hand under the nail fan to dry your nails. Check the manual for your nail fan to see how long you should place the nails under the nail fan to dry them. If you do not have a nail fan, wait up to 5 minutes between each coat to ensure the nails are completely dry and to avoid chips and bubbles from occurring. To test if your nails are dry, tap your pinky nails together and if there is any stickiness or pulling your nails are not yet dry.
  5. Once the base coat has dried apply the first thin layer of your chosen colored polish. It is recommended that you apply two coats for optimal results. Again, place your hand under the nail fan between each coat or allow five minutes for your nails to air dry.
  6. Now that your colored polish is dry, apply a top coat. This top coat will help to prevent any scuffs or chipping and also gives the nails a beautiful shine.
  7. Apply hand cream and voilà you have completed a perfect at-home manicure.

Regular nail polish does not last as long as artificial nail enhancements. When it begins to cheap or tarnish you can simply remove it by wiping your nails with a cotton pad that is drenched in acetone.

Apply cuticle oil and nail oil after removing the polish to help rehydrate the nails.

Fun Fact

Acrylic nails were first introduced in the 1950s, but their popularity soared in the 1980s, leading to an increased need for nail repair and recovery methods. The industry now offers various solutions to repair damaged nails after acrylics use.

Basic Care Routine for Hands and Nails 

Now that you have taken the time to repair damaged nails after acrylics it is important that you maintain your hands and nails to prevent any future damage from happening.

Here is a basic care routine that you can easily implement into your daily and weekly routine to keep your hands beautiful and your nails in good condition.

  1. Apply hand cream every morning and evening to keep your skin supple and soft. By keeping your skin moisturized you can help prevent and delay signs of aging. Try to use a hand cream with SPF or apply sunscreen as well as a hand cream to protect your skin from harmful sun damage.
  2. Carry a nail file in your bag so that you can file away any snags or breakages to prevent the entire nail from pulling or tearing. 
  3. Apply cuticle oil every day to keep your cuticles in good health which also benefits your nail beds
  4. Apply nail oil a few times a week to keep your nails moisturized and to strengthen them
  5. Exfoliate your hands once a week to scrub off any dead skin and dirt. Apply a moisturizing cream or mask to the hands after exfoliating to rehydrate the skin.
  6. Take time each week to cut and shape your nails. By frequently cutting your nails the nails are encouraged to grow, and it is easier to replace the damaged nails with stronger, new nails.
  7. Avoid picking your nails as this can be damaging to your nails that are both being picked and involved in the picking process. Cut away any rag nails to get rid of any temptation to pick.
  8. Wear rubber gloves if your hands are going to be submerged in hot or icy water. Also, wear gloves when dealing with chemicals and cleaning products to avoid damage to the skin and nails.
How to repair damaged nails after acrylics

Hands are the first place where noticeable aging shows, by maintaining a good routine you will be able to fight the effects of aging and keep your hands looking elegant and your nails strong.

Don’t forget to also take the time to care for the nails on your feet, which are equally important and more prone to ingrown nails and fungal diseases.

Keep your toenails clean and cut to avoid infections and apply nail oil and foot cream to keep the nails and the skin on your feet looking and feeling wonderful.

By taking on board the tips and tricks from this article you will be able to have strong and healthy nails again in no time. It is important that you remain dedicated to repairing your nails in order to stop the aching and breaking.

Depending on the damage that your nails have experienced it may be worthwhile considering if it is worthwhile getting artificial nails again. With some nails, they will become stronger, but they may never return to their original level of strength.

Consider your nail health when you are next going to the salon and ensure your nails are getting the best standard of care to avoid any recurring damage from happening. 

Ariel Coleman

Leave a Comment